Abbott Laboratories launched a test for the COVID-19 that can determine if someone is infected in five minutesand it’s so small and portable that can be used in almost any care environment.
The manufacturer of medical devices plans to provide 50 thousand tests per day from 1 April, said John Frels, vice-president of research and development, Abbott Diagnostics.
The molecular test looks for fragments of the genome of SARS-CoV-2, which can be quickly detected when they are present in high levels. A thorough search to rule out definitely an infection can take up to 13 minutes, he said.
Abbott received an authorization of emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration of Usa (FDA, for its acronym in English), “for the use (test) by approved laboratories and centers of care to patients”, explained the company on Friday.
The US has problems to provide enough evidence to detect the new coronavirus, even when the outbreak threatens to overwhelm the hospitals in New York, California, Washington and other regions.
After restricting initial testing to high-risk individuals, and present problems with a test designed by the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English), the regulatory body in EU rushes to approve diagnostic tests manufactured by the leading companies worldwide in this field.
“This really will provide a great opportunity for the health workers who are in the front line, those who have to diagnose many infections. A clinic will be able to get a result quickly, while the patient is waiting,” said Frels.
The technology works based on the platform ID Now Abbott, the most common test currently available in the US with more than 18 thousand units spread all over the country. It is widely used to detect influenza, strep throat, and respiratory syncytial virus, a virus that causes symptoms similar to a cold.
And how do you do the test?
A sample of the nose or the back of the throat, then mixed with a chemical solution that ‘breaks’ the virus and releases its RNA. The mixture is inserted in the system ID Now, which is a small box that weighs just over 3 kilograms. This device has the technology to identify and amplify selected sequences of the genome of the new coronavirus and ignoring the contamination of other viruses.
The equipment can be set up almost anywhere, but the company is working with its customers and the management Trump to ensure that the first computers used for testing are sent to where they are most needed, that is to say, emergency rooms of hospitals, clinics, urgent care, and physicians ‘ offices.
Other companies are also implementing test systems faster. Henry Schein said Thursday that his antibody test, which looks for evidence that the immune system of a person has already fought the infection, was available. The blood test can be administered at the point of care and provides results in approximately 15 minutes, although it can not be used to definitively diagnose a current infection.